: The introduction of imatinib (IM), a BCR-ABL1
tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI), has represented a significant advance in the first-line treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). However, approximately 30% of patients need to discontinue IM due to resistance or intolerance to this drug. Both resistance and intolerance have also been observed in treatment with the second-generation TKIs—dasatinib, nilotinib, and bosutinib—and the third-generation TKI—ponatinib. The mechanisms of resistance to TKIs may be BCR-ABL1
-dependent and/or BCR-ABL1
-independent. Although the role of efflux pump P-glycoprotein (Pgp), codified by the ABCB1
gene, is unquestionable in drug resistance of many neoplasms, a longstanding question exists about whether Pgp has a firm implication in TKI resistance in the clinical scenario. The goal of this review is to offer an overview of ABCB1/Pgp expression/activity/polymorphisms in CML. Understanding how interactions, associations, or cooperation between Pgp and other molecules—such as inhibitor apoptosis proteins, microRNAs, or microvesicles—impact IM resistance risk may be critical in evaluating the response to TKIs in CML patients. In addition, new non-TKI compounds may be necessary in order to overcome the resistance mediated by Pgp in CML.
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